Service-Learning in Higher Education: Andragogy in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States


  • Abraham David Benavides University of North Texas
  • Laura Keyes University of North Texas
  • Dr. Ivonne Linares-Hernández Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
  • Dr. Veronica Martinez-Miranda Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
  • Dr. Pablo G. Romanazzi Universidad Nacional de La Plata



Service-learning, adult learning, andragogy


This paper examines service-learning case studies in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. It analyzes whether Andragogy, the study of how to teach adult learners, is equally applicable and effective in different country contexts. First, we argue that service-learning is the most natural and appropriate teaching technique that aligns with the Theory of Andragogy. We then discuss how a clear understanding of Andragogy is the key to helping mature students process knowledge. Two cases of service-learning in an international context provide a research platform for examining differences in learning concepts, constructs, and student competences. We juxtapose Argentina and Mexico governance against U.S. governance, and we differentiate the public policy challenges within the two contexts. Our methodological approach employs grounded theory to identify themes of knowledge transfer through problematic environments. By comparing service-learning strategies in Argentina and Mexico vis-à-vis in the U.S., we find variations in assumptions of public administration practice, teaching methods, and student learning outcomes.

Abstract in Spanish

Este documento examina casos de estudio del aprendizaje y servicio en Argentina, México y los Estados Unidos. Analiza si la Andragogía, el estudio de cómo enseñar a los estudiantes adultos, es igualmente aceptable y efectivo en contextos de diferentes países. Primero, se planteó que la técnica de la enseñanza del aprendizaje y servicio es lo más natural y apropiado que se alinea con la Teoría de Andragogía. Después se fundamentó que un entendimiento claro de la Andragogía es la clave para ayudar a estudiantes adultos a procesar el conocimiento. Dos casos de estudio del aprendizaje y servicio en un contexto internacional proveen una plataforma para investigar diferencias en el aprendizaje con respecto a conceptos, construcciones, y competencias de los estudiantes. Se yuxtapone la gobernabilidad de Argentina y México con respecto a la gobernabilidad de los Estados Unidos y se diferencian los desafíos de las políticas públicas dentro de estos dos contextos. La metodología emplea la teoría fundamentada para identificar temas de la transferencia de conocimiento en ambientes problemáticos. Al comparar estrategias del aprendizaje y servicio en Argentina y México con respecto a los Estados Unidos, se encontró variación en los supuestos de la práctica de la administración pública, métodos de enseñanza, y resultados del aprendizaje del estudiante.


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Author Biographies

Abraham David Benavides, University of North Texas

Dr. Abraham David Benavides is a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has over 25 years of teaching experience and has served in various capacities for professional organizations. His research covers a wide range of local government issues including ethics, leadership, homelessness, ageing, immigration, and emergency management, to name a few. He has published in several leading academic journals most recently in ARPA, Public Integrity, Administration & Society, and others.

Laura Keyes, University of North Texas

Laura M. Keyes, Ph.D., is an AICP certified planner and holds a position of Senior Lecturer for the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas. She has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed publications and book chapters covering topics on local governments, public services, nonprofit management, organizational theory, and undergraduate education. Her recent publication in Public Administration Review contributes to our understanding of innovative responses by the nonprofit homeless shelter system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Ivonne Linares-Hernández, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México

Dr. Ivonne Linares-Hernández, from Mexico, graduated in chemistry and completed her master’s and PhD studies in environmental sciences from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. She is a full-time professor and works at the Inter-American Institute of Technology and Water Sciences. Her lines of research are wastewater treatment and pollution control, water quality, and leachate treatment from landfills.

Dr. Veronica Martinez-Miranda, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México

Dr. Veronica Martinez-Miranda, from Mexico, graduated in chemistry and completed a doctorate in engineering with an emphasis on water sciences. She is a Professor and Researcher with the Inter-American Institute of Technology and Water Sciences of the Autonomous University of the State of México. Her lines of research include physiochemistry of water and chemical processes for wastewater treatment and purification.

Dr. Pablo G. Romanazzi, Universidad Nacional de La Plata

Dr. Pablo G. Romanazzi is a professor of hydrology at the National University of La Plata in La Plata, Argentina. His skills and expertise include water resource management, hydrological modeling, watershed hydrology, water resource engineering, and surface hydrology to name a few. He has published widely in a number of academic journals.


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How to Cite

Benavides, A. D., Keyes, L., Linares-Hernández, I., Martinez-Miranda, V., & Romanazzi, P. (2022). Service-Learning in Higher Education: Andragogy in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 275–304.



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